Following a 31st at Kansas Speedway, Brendan Gaughan knows he has a hill to climb the next two races if he wants to be part of the Final 4 of the XFINITY Chase at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and that’s okay because he likes the added intensity.
“I love racing. If there was no pressure and it was just going out and doing our day job, then it wouldn’t be a whole lot of fun,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “The fact that the Chase adds to the pressure adds to the intensity that the fans get, crews get, drivers get – that’s what we need. I wish more things in life could have that twist and intensity.”
Outside of the race at Kansas Speedway, Gaughan has had a solid year with 15 top-10 finishes over the course of the year, making him one of the most consistent drivers this season.
“But so far, we’ve been doing everything we need to do,” he said. “We’ve been very consistent. I don’t like that our speed hasn’t been there, but we’ve been very consistent and managed our difficulties very well. We’ve managed what we need to do, and been able to salvage ourselves to have good runs. Everything has been great. Now we have our work cut out for Texas and Phoenix to see if we can make up some points, and get ourselves back in a position to transfer to the last round of the championship.”
Though moving forward, he knows he has to be faster so he can gain enough points to erase the 29 point deficit to Justin Allgaier for the fourth and final spot. He believes he and crew chief Shane Wilson can accomplish this feat, based on how long they’ve been working together. This season marks their fourth straight season in XFINITY together, following four years together in the Camping World Truck Series.
“We’ve been around each other so long that we can turn it on when it’s time to turn on, and be conservative when it’s time,” he said. “When it’s time to change styles middle of the race, we can do that better than most. So for me and Shane, it’s going to be a step up and figuring out what we need to do, and seeing how the chips fall when we get there.”
There’s hope they’re working in the right direction as Gaughan was able to turn five top-10s in the first 10 races to seven top-10s in the last 10 races.
The Las Vegas native’s confidence is also high as he will have a brand new Richard Childress Racing chassis underneath him, which includes stuff the organization has been working on through their Cup Series program. Notably, Austin Dillon contended for wins throughout the second half of the Cup season while posting eight top-10 finishes.
“We need to have a bit more speed, and that’s hard to find; it’s not just a light switch you can turn on,” he said. “That’s why I’m excited about what the chassis shop and engine shop has pushed out the door for us. They’ve worked really hard. We’re the last RCR car left in the Chase, and they’ve put a lot of emphasis and effort behind the 62 team. We’re definitely working hard, and hopefully, this is what we need to get the speed we’ve been lacking.”
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